Designed by Ryder Cup legend, Colin Montgomerie, his new course at the colossal Celtic Manor Resort opened for play in July 2007 alongside its big brother the Twenty Ten course.
Monty’s new course has used the opening and closing holes from the old Wentwood Hills course for its front nine and the homeward nine has been created from land that once housed Celtic Manor’s old 18-hole Coldra Woods academy course.
While the Montgomerie course features a few deep pot bunkers and the club’s marketing blurb will have you believe that this gives the course a links-like feel, the layout is an open-country parkland affair with dramatic elevated tee shots across valleys.
The addition of the new 6,371-yard par 69 Montgomerie course allows Celtic Manor to boast three top-class courses and it has reaffirmed their position as the premier golf resort in Wales.
Montgomerie's design is good, and the course has many memorable holes. It is always in good condition with great greens. There are a few dull holes that make this course inconsistent, but the good holes make up for it.
Hole 1 is a short par four of 320/314/296 that has a downhill drive and a long, multi-levelled green pinched by two bunkers. A pretty good start.
Hole 2 is a par 3 of 183/178/141 that is one of my least favourite holes on the course. The bunkers are well placed, but it doesn't interest me.
Hole 3 is a fantastic par five of 609/584/465 that runs downhill all the way through a forested valley. One of the best golf holes in the world.
Hole 4 is the best par 3 on the course, 181/145/122 over a deep ravine with a beautifully framed green in the valley. A great golf hole.
Hole 5 is a great par four of 359/334/229 with a beautifully sited green. There is a run off on the left and the drive over the ravine makes this a great hole.
Hole 6 sits in the middle of my par 3 rankings for this course, 161/151/105 uphill. The green complex here makes this hole better than the 2nd and 14th.
Hole 7 is my favourite par four, 335/309/277 with a drive over a deep ravine to an uphill fairway. The green is shallow but wide. A great hole.
Hole 8 is a par four of 422/386/335 uphill. This hole would be boring without the bunkers. An okay hole.
Hole 9 is the last par five, 564/530/502 from an elevated tee to an uphill fairway. The bunkers are well placed and pinch the fairway in the right places.
Hole 10 is a great par four, 421/390/368 that dares you to cut the corner with the tee shot. Then it plays downhill over water to a tough green. A fantastic hole.
Hole 11 is a sharp dogleg par four of 396/390/357 with a cluster of six bunkers on the right. This would be a better hole if the green site was more interesting.
Hole 12 is a good downhill par four of 403/377/343 with a nice look and feel. Requires an approach with less club. A good hole.
Hole 13 is a fairly average par four of 399/334/294 that has well placed bunkers on the left and right of the fairway, but has a dull greensite.
Hole 14 is my least favourite hole on the course, a par 3 of 168/160/132 with five randomly placed bunkers. Too similar to the second hole as well.
Hole 15 is a good par 3 of 158/145/120 with four well placed bunkers. Similar to the fourteenth in terms of bunkers, but they are placed in better spots.
Hole 16 is a tough par four of 428/411/354 with a breathtaking downhill drive. A great challenge, but this would be a better hole with some bunkers added.
Hole 17 is a risk-reward par four of 283/273/243 which has five well placed bunkers. However, the other two bunkers are too far away from the fairway.
Hole 18 is a good par four of 406/376/368 with a downhill drive that dares you to cut the corner. Anything short of the green will roll back down the hill.
The Monty is a good course with some stunning holes (3, 4, 5, 7, 10, 12, 16) but the bland holes (2, 11, 13, 14) really let the course down, and this prevents it from getting more than four balls.
The 2nd of 3 courses at the Celtic Manor resort, the Montgomerie has a different character than the Twenty Ten. Although water is still present in areas, there is nowhere near as much aqua as the other course.
It’s a parkland layout, with loads of elevation, coupled with long green to tee walks meaning that it wouldn’t really be a pleasant walk. Where this course compares strong to the Twenty Ten is some of the subtlety, with more strategy needing to be deciphered here than it being laid out obviously in front of you.
The 3rd is a stand out hole, a par 5 that has an extremely downhill approach shot. This is followed by the 4th, an uphill par 3 which for me is the courses best short hole. On the back, the most memorable hole for me was the 10th, a shortish par 4 where players need to be clear on the strategy.
Overall this is a mostly forgettable course, and I would encourage players who are keen to play interesting courses to venture further into Wales to Porthcawl & Pennard.
Celtic Manor do some great deals which are perfect for mates wanting a trip away with some beers and buggy etc. Both the Montgomerie and Roman Road are hilly, with some good holes. But for the most part they are very forgetful and average. If you're after a fun cheap deal with your friends, I think CM is perfect. If you're looking for good golf courses however, I'd go south to the coast and play Southerndown, Pennard or Porthcawl.
I'll start off by saying the 3rd is my favourite hole on the resort: a par 5 where you drive over the top of a hill to a fairway which descends through an avenue of trees down to the green. The views down the valley and of the 2010 course are fantastic. This hole was part of the old Wentwood Hills championship course.
After that though, I haven't really got any positives for this course. Some of the holes are decent - the ones from the old championship course, some of them are from the old "executive" course and are pretty weak. There's long walks and a lot of trekking up hills between holes. This just has a charmless feel to me, more like a DIY patch up than a masterpiece.
For me, the weakest of the 3 courses on the resort.
Greens were superb rest of the course is nice enough with some good holes. For me the weakest of the 3 celtic manor courses.
This course is hilly; I have played courses with hilly holes (in Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, mid Wales, Herefordshire etc), but I think that overall this is the hilliest course I have played. There are also long walks between tees (a bit like Manor House, Castle Combe ) so the debate is buggy or not. I went without buggy and my playing partners chose buggy .. think I made right decision as buggy paths were down one side of each fairway and mean't a long walk from path to ball (at same time trying to guess which clubs to take with them).
A very modern style course with fairly generous fairways and huge greens, all very well presented. The greens had a lot of slopes and this helped to make it quite a difficult par 69 off the white tees. There are two par 5's (one steeply uphill and one steeply downhill) and five par 3's which were fairly similar in style and length (vaying from 158 to 183 yards). For me there were too many approach shots that were either uphill or blind over a mound (maybe 13 in total).
An innocuous couple of opening holes is followed by a gorgeous looking tee shot on hole 3. Framed by trees either side there are a couple of nicely shaped bunkers on the right hand side and in the distance the fairway dives down the hill so I'm wondering if this could be called an infinity tee ?. The hole is 600 yards and steeply downhill after the drive so it doesn't really deliver (for me) in terms of being a great hole overall. From the 3rd green there is a long walk (mainly downhill) to the 4th, which is the pick of the par 3's. Nice looking tee shots at 4, 5 and 7 and I would say the stretch from 3 to 7 is the most interesting part of the course. Then follows the long uphill par 4 8th which basically gets you back up to the level of the 3rd tee; the trade-off of one downhill hole (the third) for four or five uphill holes doesn't I'm afraid work for me. Holes 8 and 9 ( a par 5) have a combined yardage of 986 yards basically all uphill and were a boring slog to finish the front nine. The back nine starts with a nice par 4 (a dog-leg with a pond to negotiate in front of the green) but after that it offered little of interest.
My overall conclusion was 'modern and very hilly'. Just not my cup of tea and I would personally not choose to play again … would much rather pay the extra to play the 2010 course !
Played this as my 400th course worldwide (37th in Wales), having previously played the other two resort courses last year.
Personally I would rank this higher than Roman Road as a very good layout which is both challenging for your golf AND your lungs.
Had my faith in the membership here restored as played wth two nice blokes (Spider and Lee) rather than the idiots who rudely chased us round the Roman Road even though we were waiting on several groups stacked up in front of us ?!?!?
Tough par 3's - but rather bewildering stroke indexes for them ??
Some very good 4's and 5's.
Much more opportunity to lose balls on here than R/Road and 2010 other than the water of course.
As I said a very good layout, buggy recommended, and I think better than the Roman Road !?
I'd played this course in March and the overnight frost made the first few greens rather interesting! Quite surprised to have been let out to play with the greens still in that condition actually. It was something that caused me to wait an hour the next day at Royal Porthcawl before play could commence.
Anyway, apart from the cold, (it was quite a sunny day and I was down to a shirt by the back nine) I really enjoyed this course and the oft mentioned elevation changes. The 3rd was the headline act for the green just seeming to hang on the horizon, but I really enjoyed the lay of the holes on the back nine. In fact, I'd enjoyed the inward holes so much I was seriously considering walking off the 18th straight into the golf shop to go back out and try the Roman Road course. Well at least until my wife dragged me away, helpfully noting that I'd played that morning and was booked into Porthcawl as well and we still had to go and be proper tourists on a short visit to Cardiff.
Perhaps a stay onsite in the future with games at all three courses, if I ever find myself back in Wales.
The Montgomerie course, named after Colin Montgomerie OBE who designed the course is of similar ilk to the Roman Road in both style and substance.
The walk is more undulating than the Roman Road and at times can be a little gruelling if you are not using a buggy but the quality of the actual holes is pleasing.
The best holes on the course are the downhill par five 3rd that has impressive views from the summit of the fairway whilst the next hole, a par three of 181 yards from the back tees, is also a superb hole. The next doesn't disappoint either before a run of solid holes takes you to the turn.
The 10th was my favourite hole on the course because it allows you to decide how much of the downhill dog-leg you risk taking on in order to give yourself a better and shorter shot to a green fronted by water.
Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.
Montgomerie day after very heavy rain, in great nick, very long hilly walk but burnt off calories from overnight stay at CM, buggy would be ok but you will still walk a lot, me and my wife did it no real problem. Long walk between some holes so if infirm, get a buggy! Front 9 one of the most pretty scenes I have seen, third is a wonder. Back 9 not quite so hilly.